Pihu

wogma rating: Catch on TV/online for sure (?)

quick review:

While you are in awe with how they managed to make a 2-year old single-handedly hold our interest through the film, Pihu is still a 90-minute long Public Service Announcement for making houses child proof.

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Director: Vinod Kapri
Running time: 90 minutes
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You know the times you chide yourself for being paranoid because you are thinking of all the what-ifs that could happen to detroy your life as it stands for you today. Simple things like leaving the gas on when you leave your house or your house being burgled while you were away. What if I told you all your worries are well-founded because such things happen in real life? Pihu exposes the character Pihu (Pihu Myra Vishwakarma) to each and every thing that could be dangerous for a toddler in an upper middle-class house making the film a documentary on child safety. You can’t help but notice that even as you spend an hour and a half in awe of how well they had the little child perform. And you have to remind yourself that the marketing strategy used was just not right.

The beauty is even without any of the things done well, the very idea of making a film that banks completely on two little shoulders is commendable in itself.

Despite being a thriller that brings the crawls under you skin because you don’t really want to watch what you are watching – a 2-year old is in constant danger, for goodness sake! – Pihu strikes you as a really well-made film. Right from the creative and effective opening title sequence to the way the tension builds up, right till the manner in which the climax is handled, Pihu has some brilliant directorial decisions. For instance, through the ninety minutes Pihu is hardly ever shown talking, the times you hear her voice hardly ever overlap with the times you see her on screen. It is cleverly edited and the editing has contributed to make it seem real. The popping balloons or other sounds such as the ticking clock, dripping water, humming geyser, and hissing iron are other smart ways in which the audience is kept on its toes adding to the thrill.

These decisions are surely enough to give a pass to a couple of weird scenes like the one that is from the point of view of a chapati 1 in a microwave. The scenes in which the child who belongs to obviously messy parents is so intent upon cleaning up strike as awkward too, but who knows cleanliness might not be a nurture thing. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

And of course, all the credit of having a 2-year old perform just the way they wanted has to go to the director. I was very aware through the film of how they must have gotten Pihu, the child actor, to do this or that. Now, whether a child – actor or not – should have to cry or be scared or see herself being around a corpse for 90 minutes when she grows older is a humanitarian question I will never be able wrap my head around.

It is also well-written just for its depiction of a two-year old’s behaviour such as a child’s capacity to entertain oneself, or how she gets used to a situation or sound and ignores it, or how a child pushes the envelop to grab attention, or the things they learn just from observation, or their disregard for obvious danger and yet they know not to cross a line, or how self-important they are, or how they won’t do what you want them to do and do exactly that one thing you don’t want them to.

The writing is nuanced from other points of view too. I especially like how without actually telling anything, the film showed us how a remorseful man, aloving father could also possibly be a wife-beater. In fact, it reaches out to the audiences emotions – I noticed myself squirm when a child listened in on an adult conversation even though I knew it is unlikely the child grasped its meaning.

The beauty is even without any of the things done well, the very idea of making a film that banks completely on two little shoulders is commendable in itself. For that alone, Pihu can be a one time watch. And anyway, if we have to watch a drama of a human being trapped in a house better Pihu than Trapped. On the other hand, encouraging movies that borderline abuse child rights seems just wrong.

And you have to remind yourself that the [marketing strategy](https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/pihu-director-defends-films-marketing-strategy/articleshow/66543468.cms "Pihu Marketing strategy") used was just not right.

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1 Indian bread

- meeta, a part of the audience

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: There is a dead body lying on a bed around a 2-year old through the film
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A 2 year old is locked alone inside her own home
  • General Look and Feel: A realistic feel of the inside of an upper middle class house.

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